We only have three auto manufacturers reported as-of 9:15 AM EST, but as-of that time of writing Honda got March US Auto Sales off to a poor start. To be specific, the 70 bps YoY drop was made much worse because March 2017 has a more favorable combined calendar and day trade adjustment than a year ago. Nissan and Mazda both did much better, each seeing sales rise by 3-5% YoY NSA. With 20% of the auto industry reported (by volume), sales are tracking a miss but things look much less grim than they did right after Honda announced its sales just after 7:00 AM. We will continue to update our tracker as new results come in throughout the day.
Update 1 9:24 AM EST: Ford missed, delivering -7.2% YoY sales growth versus -5.9% expected by analysts; both are NSA, with no adjustment for the number of sales days in the month. That said, the consequences were brutal for the overall industry sales pace which by our calculation is tracking 16.403mm seasonally adjusted annual rate in March with about 1/3rd of the industry reported.
Update 2 9:59 AM EST: Things are not getting better for the auto industry as reports roll in. After Ford’s huge hit to our tracker (shaving over 650,000 SAAR from the sales pace in one fell swoop) GM made a positive impact despite missing estimated (+7.0%) significantly with the 1.6% sales gain versus a year ago. Fiat-Chrysler also missed, delivering a 5% volume drop versus expectations for roughly unchanged YoY sales. Toyota was even worse, with US sales falling 2.1%. With 80% of the industry reported, the sales pace we are tracking is only marginally above dismal February 2015 numbers, and stands a chance of coming in at the lightest pace in almost 3 years.
Update 3 1:52 PM EST: With smaller auto OEMs reporting vehicle sales throughout the early afternoon, we’re only missing Audi’s numbers and have 97.8% of the market reported as of this writing. Based on our calculations using Bureau of Economic Analysis seasonal adjustment data, we are tracking a big miss in auto sales, with actual pace coming in almost 900,000 SAAR short of what economists expected. To find a weaker number, we have to go all the way back to September of 2014, when the industry delivered sales of 16.24mm SAAR. As shown in the bottom graph, if this sales pace holds it will represent a major decline versus recent prints.